MBTA plans 23% fare hike, far fewer service cuts

The MBTA said today savings in everything from group insurance to electricity purchases mean fares will go up an average of 23% come July 1, rather than the far higher increases originally forecast.

However, the T is also counting on $51 million in savings that would require legislative approval, including $4 million in tort reform.

Although most riders will be spared the deep cuts initially proposed, the T said it will eliminate weekend service on the E line past Brigham Circle and on the Needham, Kingston/Plymouth and Greenbush commuter-rail lines. Eliminated entirely: The 48 Jamaica Plain Loop bus.

More details.



Free tagging: 



By on

The Saturday reduction seems severe, but I don't recall service EVER being 11 - 13 minutes on Sunday on that line. I believe it was 30 minutes on Sunday when I took it regularly.

(I say that with the disclaimer that I haven't regularly taken it in 15 years, but I did for the 35 or so previous.)

With the 27 (Mattapan-Ashmont bus, River Street & Dorchester Ave.) running once an hour on Sunday, and every 40 minutes on Saturday, this does seem like it would be quite a problem for those who have to work on those days. One or the other should be more frequent.


Service on Sunday now before

By on

Service on Sunday now before 10 AM is run with one car running every 22 minutes. A second car comes on at 10 AM and improves the frequency to every 11/13 minutes or so. It has been like that for decades. Maybe you hardly rode after 10 AM on Sundays in the past. The new proposal would keep it as only one car on the line all day long, so the present Sunday morning frequency would become the all day frequency Sunday. Same thing for Saturday mornings and evenings. I agree with Ron, they will need to publish a timetable so people can plan their trips around the specific departure times.


By on

I usually rode the trolley, on Sunday, prior to 10am (and generally after 9pm on the return, for what that's worth.)

Thanks for the clarification.


The JP Loop bus is the 48, not the 49

The 49 doesn't exist anymore; it's now called the Silver Line Washington Street route.

If I had to cut service, the 48 would be pretty close to the top of my list. Who rides this?


By on

for fun :)

Primary riders are residents

By on

Primary riders are residents of a large senior and disabled person apartment building at 125 Amory St. What might be a simple walk for the able bodied can be difficult for the residents of this building. Perhaps many can take The Ride, but under the new fares proposed, that will cost someone $4.00 one-way or $8.00 round-trip.

Cound be worse, I guess

By on

The service cuts aren't ideal, but they're at least palatable--the affected Green Line routes are almost all walkable to either the D line, the Orange Line, or a major bus route, and the 48 bus is woefully underused. The 23% fare hike is going to hurt the most on the commuter rail ($329 monthly Zone 9 passes! $3 surcharge for buying your ticket on the train!), but if that's what it's going to take to stop the ruinous service cuts, so be it.

The PowerPoint was a little ridiculous, though. I could go into business making that kind of pie chart. Look, this new drug only kills 1% of the people who take it! That's just a tiny wedge out of this whole brightly colored circle!

They're always looking for an excuse

By on

To cut "E" between Brigham Circle and Heath St. Really. There's no money to be saved by doing it, they've just been trying to do this for years.

It saves one train off of the

By on

It saves one train off of the line. The E-line now uses 11 two-car trains on Saturday and 7 on Sunday. It will use 10 and 6 under the new proposal. Not a big savings, but a savings.

This is another one-time fix

By on

Next year we'll still have a budget shortfall. There won't be any resolution until the legislature fixes the failed forward funding law.

Quick observations

Can we now say that the Greenbush line is a complete failure?

The Greenbush, Needham and Kingston/Plymouth lines could be saved by using smaller 'Buddliner' self propelled cars ( that were used here decades ago ) and still used in Philly, instead of a full blown train with 90% of the cars closed off.

I have boarded trains on weekends in Abington when there is a sporting event in town and the trains are packed.

Seniors and disabled are taking a bigger hit as their monthly passes jump $8 compared to $11 for everybody else for bus/subway.

One thing the T has been remiss about.

Travel patterns have changed from the old streetcar and bus lines after WW2 when the MTA was created. Just looking at Cambridge, Lechmere now handles 10 times the traffic on weekends than 50 years ago because of the Galleria Mall and Science Park.

There should be a bus down Hampshire St that connects Inman and Kendall. It would almost make more sense to have the 83 Rindge go to Kendall instead of Central.

Best example on how the T ignores the bus system is route 99


The bus still ends at the Boston Regional Medical Center even though the hospital closed in 1999.

The people who run the T don't take the T.

There is still some stuff at

By on

There is still some stuff at the location where BMRC used to be, and riders on the stops along the way. I admit a name change is long overdue, but there's really nothing good to change it to. "Wellington Station - Up There Somewhere" doesn't have a catchy ring to it.

8 bucks! Oh no!

By on

Sorry but I can't conjure up much sympathy for seniors or anyone else whose monthly pass cost is going up by the cost of a hamburger when I'll be paying another 50 bucks a month for commuter rail service that runs like every two hours.

I'm really glad the T feels the need to pay two conductors to collect the fares on non-rush hour trains when the passengers are herded into one car anyways. I actually heard one of these assholes complain the other day that "riding the train for eight hours a day ain't easy." Really? Because I have to PAY to ride the train for two hours a day, then work for nine hours during which time I'm actually doing fucking work.

The MBTA wanted to cut Route

By on

The MBTA wanted to cut Route 99 back from the old hospital site to Molineau Circle after the hospital closed, but there is no place for a bus to layover between runs there that doesn't block a lane or have the bus sitting in front of someones house. So it still goes to the hospital site because nobody complains about a bus parking there.

The bus could just layover in the rotary itself

That circle is huge, and a bus sitting in it for a few minutes between runs isn't going to block much of anything. Bus #100 sometimes lays over at much busier Roosevelt Circle.

If there are still medical offices open at the former hospital site, that might be enough reason to keep the bus running there, at least on weekdays. Are these medical offices open on weekends?

Speaking of hospitals, the T is cutting bus #710 which is the only service to Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford.


By on

Such a negligible amount of money would be saved by cutting the 99 from the former BRMC to Molineau Circle there's literally no point. You would have to cut the bus to the (also former) Malden Hospital to see any savings come of it. I do not believe any of those offices are open on weekends, but there is a rehab hospital there that is still open. Occasionally there will be one or two people who take the route all the way there during the day. Might as well keep Stoneham's one 7 day a week bus connection. Also, the 100 only has a layover at Roosevelt Circle on weekend evenings if a deadhead 106 from Malden is early, as the two buses operate using the same bus (hence the termination at Roosevelt instead of Elm Street). (Full discretion, I am a former bus driver and current subway operator for the T)

Bus 99

Seems like this would be a good way for people to get to the Middlesex Fells, but the T's interactive street map doesn't show any stops between Molyneaux Circle and the ex-hospital.

Greenbush always was a failure

By on

Over $500 million to serve 1-2k riders, most of whom were ferry users? Yeah. One of the clearest examples of suburban bias in state funding.

I just want to point out that the T is not responsible for the debacle that is the American diesel multiple-unit market. That blame rests squarely on the FRA and its unsafe "safety regulations" which require massive amounts of weight. Those 'Buddliners' that were used represented the last cost-effective DMU available to the American market. So much, that they were in use long after they all should have been put to pasture.

So, running a locomotive with 4-5 cars closed and one open is pretty much the only option for the T. That or electrification (which they should do). Then there's the ridiculous amounts of over-staffing of commuter rail trains. That's where the costs are. There be no more than 1 engineer and 1 conductor per train. Better yet, 1 engineer, and roving fare inspectors checking proof-of-purchase receipts.

Updating bus routes is unfortunately more difficult than it should be. There's always some weirdo who complains really loudly. And the potential passengers, well, they don't probably know about it yet to be motivated to come support the change.

The bus reductions are

By on

The bus reductions are :
Eliminate Routes 48 (J.P Loop), 355 (Mishawum-Downtown, only has two trips each way now), 500 (Riverside-Downtown, Green Line convers same route) and 710 (North Medford-Wellington, most of the route is near other routes)

Saturday service only would also be eliminated on Routes 52 Dedham Mall-Watertown, 245 Quincy-Mattapan, 451 Salem-Beverly, and 554 Newton Corner-Waverly) and Sunday service only would be eliminated on Routes 18 Ashmont-Andrew, 37/38 Baker&Vermont-Forest Hills, 245 Quincy Hospital-Quincy, and 436 Lynn-Danvers

Routes 354 Woburn-Boston and 451 Salem-North Beverly would have midday service elimianted, making them rush-hour only

Routes 217 Quincy-Ashmont and 439 Lynn-Nahant would have service reduced,and Routes 441/442 Marblehead-Haymarket and 455 Salem-Haymarket would be cut-back to Wonderland Station instead of Haymarket weekdays (these routes already only operate to Wonderland on weekends)

Routes 52 Dedham Mall-Watertown and CT3 Beth Isreal-Andrew would have midday service reduced, Route 351 Bedford Woods-Alewife would have peak service reduced.

Subsidies to municipal mini-bus systems in Mission Hill, Beverly, Bedford, Burlington, Lexington, and Dedham would be cut 50%. It will be up to the muncipalities to use more of their own money, cut service, and/or raise fares to make up the difference.

439 isn't really getting reduced service

By on

I think they're trading the northern leg of the 439 to 441/442. This makes more sense really, since the bus trip between Haymarket and Wonderland could easily be replaced with Blue Line service, and now the routes are behaving more like spokes from the transit hubs.

The service cut to 439 is minimal, and now it can service most of Oak Island enroute to Nahant. Also attaching it to Wonderland rather than Lynn Center exclusively should boost its ridership.

I've never even seen a 355. I guess it's supposed to be a CR-substitute between the Lowell/Haverhill lines?

I'm sure someone feels like this is a shit sandwich for them, but from what I see, it's at least sensible.

The 355 was for "reverse

By on

The 355 was for "reverse commuters" going to Mishawum in the a.m. and back from there in the p.m.. Most of the route is covered by the 354, which will remain in the peak. The stop at Mishawum is the only one not covered by the 354. The 355 filled in some gaps on the Lowell Line train schedule. A few outbound a.m. and inbound p.m. Lowell trains still stop there for reverse commuters(the station was otherwise replaced by Anderson a few years back). The 355 filled a gap between trains. It looks like another Lowell train will add a stop at Mishawum to replace the 355.

Hardly any money will even be saved by the 355's

By on

elimination, the 355 was just an in-service version of deadhead 350 routes that have to run down the highway back to Boston anyways. Also, the 439 will only go to Wonderland for 1.5 trips, personally, I think they should make it go to Wonderland for all trips or permanently through-route it with the 426 (during evening rush hours, you can see several 426/439 buses). As far as getting rid of the Wonderland to Haymarket portion of the Marblehead routes, I suppose this can make sense, as they rarely have many people, but getting rid of the Bell Circle to Haymarket portion of the 455 makes very little sense, as now a transfer to either the 426 at Central Square, the 450 at West Lynn or the Blue Line will be required. Or you can take the 459, which has to be one of the least on time buses on the entire system.

MBTA short term fix puts another customer back in his car

Cutriss tells us:

I think they're trading the northern leg of the 439 to 441/442. This makes more sense really, since the bus trip between Haymarket and Wonderland could easily be replaced with Blue Line service, and now the routes are behaving more like spokes from the transit hubs.

Except now, I'll be driving to Lynn Central Square instead of taking the bus.

From Roxbury to Haymarket followed by the single-seat ride to Central Square gives me about a 70 minute trip. And, a guaranteed seat. I pay the Inner Express bus tariff of $2.80 outbound and $2.80 inbound (at the current rate).

Without 441/2 running all the way to Haymarket, I'd have two changes instead of one: a change at State for the Blue Line and then the long walk from the Wonderland Blue Line Station to the bus stop and the cattle call boarding for the short sprint up 1A to Central Square. No seat, unless I get aggressive when I board. That pushes the variance of the total trip time up considerably, so that I have to allow about 90 to 110 minutes to be sure to be on-time. And, the trip cost would be $2.00 (each way, now, at the proposed rate).

The automobile trip is 35 minutes and about $4.50 in gasoline. I really want to take the MBTA, but this is a no-brainer.

Imagine what the poor schmos who used to go from Marblehead to downtown Boston are going to choose.

The 448, 449, and 459 will

By on

The 448, 449, and 459 will continue operating to Downtown Crossing, its only the 441, 442, and 455 that will be cut-back from Haymarket to Wonderland

448, 449, 459 are no alternative to 441/442. & 426 isn't either

It is nice of you to point out the alternative. But for two reason they are not practicable.

A) The major thrust of my post was that, now given a weaselly alternative, the not-so Great and General Court, grasping for a stupid short-term solution, will alienate yet one more commuter back to his automobile. I'm willing to just more than double my commute time, but completely unwilling to triple it.

B) The solutions you offer aren't really solutions at all. Route 1A is a major commuter artery into and out of Boston during rush hours. Prospective T commuters, currently serviced at Haymarket and Bell Circle, are shafted compared to the automobile commuters who currently clog the route.

The 448, 449, and 459 each have only one outbound run, in the morning (7h45, 7h15, and 7h15).

Between the 441 and 442, there is a run every half-hour through the day.

The better replacement could have been the 426, but:
1) The run to Central Square takes twice as long (42 minutes vs. 24 minutes for the 441/442)
2) Most of the 426 runs terminate at Central Square. I go a little farther north, which the 441/442 services; but, that helps the folk going to Marblehead not at all.

However Marblehead to Boston

By on

However Marblehead to Boston commuters, not "reverse commuters" like yourself,will have more trip choices with the 448/449 for a on-seat ride to Boston, as there are five inbound trips in the a.m. vs 2 outbound. Should also point out that quite a lot of people on inbound 441/442s already transfer at Wonderland, as the inbound buses empty out there and a smaller group of riders continue on to Haymarket. Plus on weekends, all of the weekday North Shore-Boston routes already terminate at Wonderland and have for about 10 years. Having more weekday trips terminate at Wonderland will actually be a cost advantage for some people who will just have to buy a cheaper Link pass instead of an express bus pass. At least with the 455, there presently aren't enough weekday trips only operating to Wonderland to make it practical to only use a Link pass.

sucks for people who like to

By on

sucks for people who like to visit/leave the south shore on the weekends.... i wonder if they explored how much ridership could be boosted by adding shuttles to Nantasket or Duxbury beaches as opposed to eliminating service

Not as many as you might think, unfortunately

By on

The South Shore is mostly visited by the minivan set and the oh-my-god-I-might-break-a-nail set. Not thinking they're going to be doing much of the taking bikes on trains.

that is exactly why i'm

By on

that is exactly why i'm bummed about these cuts.... that ride from nantasket junction to the beach is so short, can't be more than 2 or 3 miles. 100 years ago that beach was just as crowded as today, but with most folks riding the train out from Boston. I have to imagine there would still be some demand for it, but then again few things I imagine anymore square with popular reality

The MBTA did put a bike car

By on

The MBTA did put a bike car on the Greenbush Line a few years ago, like the one they use on the Rockport Line, but ridership remained low.

They also rescheduled some buses on Route 714 Hingham-Hull to meet trains at Nantasket Junction, but that didn't attract many users either. You will still be able to get to Nantasket by transit on Saturdays but you will have to take the Red Line to Quincy, the 220 bus to Hingham, and then the 714 bus to Hull. It will be hard but you will still be able to go to Hull and back.

We've been regular weekend

By on

We've been regular weekend riders/bikers on the Greenbush line almost since it opened. A short ride on the train from South Station to Greenbush and a short, flat bike ride down the Driftway to Scituate and you're on a beautiful beach. We'll miss it. The T did promote the idea, with posters at South Station e.g., a few years ago at least.

Just look to Manchester (By-The-Sea, not ManchVegas)

By on

If the mass of humanity that exits every morning/early afternoon weekend train during the season in Manchester and walks 3/4 of a mile to the beach is any indication, the numbers would be pretty damned good.

Of course, this might be exactly why said shuttle idea would never fly - "Nooooooo! It'll be like Reveah Beach, I tell ya!" (as an anticipatory rebuttal, I've never encountered any problems at Singing Beach - whether caused by train riders or anyone else).

Here's my solution

By on

Get rid of Fenway and Longwood stations on D line.
Get rid of Heath St and Back of the Hill Station on E line.
Extend line from Riverway on E to Brookline Village station on D.
Boom, you just got rid of one line and added several trains to the others, all with little inconvenience.

It merges two lines into one,

By on

It merges two lines into one, therefore providing more overall trains.

There's two Longwood stops so what huge difference will there be if there's only one? And if someone is used to getting off at the Fenway Stop they can get off at St. Mary St. stop which is an additional 4 minutes of walking.


So you go from a fast,

By on

So you go from a fast, grade-separated "D" line to a slow, traffic snarled "DE" line which still has to negotiate the worst stretch of Huntington Ave? And then get from Boylston onto the the Riverside right-of-way. That connection may be restored someday, but I don't see it saving any money or time right now.

Horrible idea to get rid of

By on

Horrible idea to get rid of the initial part of the D branch. The LMA & West Fenway (with a lot of new high density development being constructed in the next decade) desperately need those stops. The route 9 linking of the E line to Brookline Village (as non revenue trackage) is already proposed to help with shuffling trolleys between lines and provide faster access to the yards at Reservoir & Riverside.

About 45 years ago, the MBTA

By on

About 45 years ago, the MBTA considered building a non-revenue track between the D and the E at Brookline Village. But those plans were long ago dropped, there are no plans to do that now and in fact the redevelopment of the old Red Cab garage site 20+ years ago would make it very hard to build such a connection now.

The cost of a monthly link

By on

The cost of a monthly link pass is increasing from $59 to $70. $70 is what was then called a combo pass cost prior to the last fare hike. So for me personally I don't really consider this a hike at all.

Service cuts in Roslindale

I'm surprised you didn't mention a few service cuts in your own neighborhood:

No more Saturday service on the Needham commuter train (it already lacks Sunday service)
No more Sunday service on the 37/38 to West Roxbury

Rozzie/Westie cuts

Dropping the 37/38 on Sunday is more damaging than dropping the commuter rail on Saturday. The trains are already extremely infrequent, and 9 times out of 10, I'll opt for a bus to Forest Hills, then Orange Line in to town. Essentially, there is another service that is sufficiently comparable.

This argument becomes less compelling for the folks in West Roxbury, as the bus ride takes longer, and especially if they lose some buses. Cutting back the 37/38 and commuter rail very nearly turns West Roxbury in to a transit desert.